Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 29, 2012

Filling up the bowls for fundraiser

ASHLAND — The Community Kitchen inside The Neighborhood was busy Wednesday night serving food to a crowd of hungry dinner guests.

The mouths being filled with soup, salad, bread and desserts weren’t the usual clientele, though. They were instead donors who came out for the agencies fourth annual Empty Bowls fundraiser.

The $15-a-bowl event raised money for the charity that supplied more than 33,400 free meals last year. Attendees filled their stomachs and left with handmade bowls crafted by students from Morehead State University.  

Executive Director Alfreda Moore said she was expecting to feed more than 200 individuals on Wednesday, rivaling the numbers the kitchen feeds every day for lunch.

“We had a record yesterday,” she said. “We had 210 during lunch.”

The kitchen serves lunch Monday through Friday as well as dinners on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

“It is our goal to go to a 7-day-a-week program,” Moore said, noting that goal will take some time to achieve.

Community Kitchen relocated to The Neighborhood from their home of 29 years inside the Calvary Episcopal Church in January but already has been able to expand its services because of the larger space it now has.

“We have had a lot of comments from people who have said they are glad that we are here because it is closer to where they live,” Moore said.

The Neighborhood also has a bus stop on the Ashland Bus System, which has proven valuable for many of the clients it serves.

She said the response to Wednesday’s fundraiser was “tremendous.”

Vista Volunteer Lacy Stephens did much of the work putting together the event, including baking the brownies for dessert. A recent Marshall University graduate with a degree in dietetics, the Community Kitchen was a good fit for Stephens’ skill set.

“I just thought it would be a great thing to do for a year, to get involved and give back to my community,” she said. “It really focuses on the community side of dietetics and working with impoverished families, making sure everyone is food secure.”

Stephens started working on the fundraiser in January, recruiting donors to provide the soups and coordinating the creation and delivery of the pottery. Tim Hortons, Kings Daughters Medical Center, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital and The Texas Roadhouse donated the soups for the event. The Roadhouse sent eight servers to help dish out all the food.

“The community has been really great,” said Stephens.

Dr. Christopher Beckham, Rector of the All Saints Church and Anglican Mission in Huntington, along with his family and a number of his parishioners, showed up for the event.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to support a great cause,” Beckham said, “We’re really thankful this ministry is here in the community, and this is a time when ministries like this are really needed.

“I think we all have an obligation to be mindful of the needs of others. That is what the scripture teaches us, and if we can join hands with a ministry that is so well organized and so well run, it is just important for us to keep in mind the needs of others. I’m looking forward to getting to know them better and getting involved with them in the future.”

Over at the next table, Karmen Burke and her husband, Chris, of Greenup, were enjoying their evening meal together.

“I have always wanted to help out The Community Kitchen, and we just thought it would be a nice thing to do,” she said, adding the food was “very good.”

Bowls are still available to individuals who would like to make a donation or who could not attend the event. Moore said the agency hopes to give most of the bowls away within the next two weeks.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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